Les Blank: Always for Pleasure Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

Les Blank

 
Les Blank: Always for Pleasure (Criterion Blu-Ray)

Blu-Ray

3 Discs

SRP: $124.95

Criterion Store price:$99.96

  • United States
  • 563 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #737

An uncompromisingly independent filmmaker, Les Blank made documentaries for nearly fifty years, elegantly disappearing with his camera into cultural spots rarely seen on-screen—mostly on the peripheries of the United States, but also occasionally abroad. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, these films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to music, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights. This collector’s set provides a diverse survey of Les Blank’s vast output, including fourteen of his best-known works and eight related short films.

For more information on the individual films, click here.

Cast

Credits

DirectorLes Blank

Disc Features

  • New 2K digital restorations of all fourteen films, with uncompressed monaural or stereo soundtracks on the Blu-rays:

    The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1968 • 31 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Soon after founding his production company, Flower Films, Les Blank got up close to the legendary Texas blues musician Lightnin’ Hopkins for this rollicking film.

    God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance (1968 • 20 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Blank took his camera to the historic 1967 Easter Sunday love-in in Los Angeles for this immersive, even spiritual collage of a film.

    Spend It All (1971 • 43 minutes • Color • Monaural • In English and French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Blank journeys down the bayous and byways of Southwest Louisiana in this riveting portrait of the region’s Cajun community.

    A Well Spent Life (1971 • 44 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Musician Mance Lipscomb commands the screen in Blank’s vivid sketch of a man some consider the greatest blues guitarist who ever lived.

    Dry Wood (1973 • 37 minutes • Color • Monaural • In English and French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Blank ventured back to Southwest Louisiana for this work of ramshackle beauty, an immersion in the region’s black Creole community that teems with delightful detail.

    Hot Pepper (1973 • 54 minutes • Color • Monaural • In English and French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    This is an energetic portrait of the Grammy-winning Creole musician Clifton Chenier, a.k.a. the King of Zydeco; Blank beautifully captures his music’s propulsive, foot-tapping joy.

    Always for Pleasure (1978 • 57 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Blank’s raucous tribute to the sights, sounds, and flavors of New Orleans is perhaps his most sustained representation of pure joy.

    Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980 • 50 minutes • Color • Monaural • In English and Spanish with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    More than just a nonfiction lark, Blank’s highly personal film ode to the “stinking rose” is a loving tribute both to a food that unites the most disparate of cuisines and to the East Bay, California, community that appears on-screen.

    Sprout Wings and Fly (1983 • 30 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    This is a warm depiction of the life of old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

    In Heaven There Is No Beer? (1984 • 49 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    A cinematic jamboree, this film finds Blank in a characteristically jubilant mode as he explores “polka happiness” and the Polish American polka subculture.

    Gap-Toothed Women (1987 • 31 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Blank breezily questions our commonly accepted standards of beauty with this paean to women with extra-wide dental spaces.

    Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (1990 • 31 minutes • Color • Monaural • In English and French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    Accordionist Marc Savoy and his family and friends show us how to make goo courtbouillon, gumbo, étouffée, boudin, and other Cajun and Creole delights.

    The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1994 • 53 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    This portrait of the free-spirited painter and singing cowboy Gerald Gaxiola is a testament to creativity unencumbered by commerce.

    Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella (1995 • 34 minutes • Color • Stereo • In English and Spanish with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio)
    The impassioned rhythms of Francisco Aguabella’s conga propel this portrait of the great Afro-Cuban percussionist.

  • Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, a film project by Harrod Blank and Gina Leibrecht
  • New interviews with Blank’s sons, Harrod and Beau; Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro); Blank’s friends and collaborators Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Werner Herzog, Susan Kell, Tom Luddy, David Silberberg, and Chris Simon; and chef and author Alice Waters
  • Related shorts by Blank: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1994), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005)
  • Two outtake performances from The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Andrew Horton

    New cover by Eric Skillman

Film Essays

651_161_t_thumbnail

Les Blank’s Cinéma Vitalité

By Andrew Horton November 25, 2014

More than just observational, Les Blank’s sensual documentaries are personal and participatory celebrations of American culture. Read more »

Criterion Designs

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Criterion Designs: Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

By Eric Skillman May 15, 2015

Criterion’s Eric Skillman writes about the challenge of designing the box set Les Blank: Always for Pleasure. Read more »


Interviews


Interviews


Video


Photo Galleries


Film Essays

651_161_t_thumbnail

Les Blank’s Cinéma Vitalité

By Andrew Horton November 25, 2014

More than just observational, Les Blank’s sensual documentaries are personal and participatory celebrations of American culture. Read more »


Interviews

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